Posts Tagged ‘Half-Life’

Black Mesa’s Xen chapters delayed again

Warrior princess.

If your Christmas plans include gathering the family around the meat tree and singing songs celebrating the return of our saviour, Gordon Freeman, I have bad news: Black Mesa is delaying the launch of its final chapters. The sanctioned fan-made Half-Life remake had previously planned to launch the remade Xen levels in mid-December but yeah, that’s not happening any more. Why? Because they’re still not ready, obvs. But heck, it’s been two years since Black Mesa hit early access with most of Half-Life remade (and developers Crowbar Collective have added a bit more since) so another delay doesn’t make much of a difference. Read the rest of this entry »

Best PC games of all time

best-pc-games-ever

There are more wonderful games being released on PC each month than ever before. In such a time of plenty, it’s important that you spend your time as wisely as possible. Thankfully, we’re here to help. What follows are our picks for the best PC games ever made. Read the rest of this entry »

Ex-Valve chap launches Half-Life mod C.A.G.E.D.

While Valve Software are unable to continue Half-Life in a way they like, some former employees seem drawn back to HL after leaving. Former Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw recently leaked a Half-Life 2: Episode 3 plot idea and now Cayle George has released a new Half-Life mod. Available now free through Steam, C.A.G.E.D. [official site] is a short singleplayer episode set in a prison. I found parts frustrating but if you’ve missed the Half-Life look, feel, and weapons, this is a pretty flashy reason to return. Read the rest of this entry »

Er… so Half-Life’s writer maybe just revealed the complete plot of HL2: Episode 3

hl3

The lesson here is “never go to sleep.” All sorts of things happen while people sleep. Cats go on adventures, presidents threaten nuclear war and, well, ex-Valve writers post thinly-disguised plot summaries of the unreleased and, so far as best guesses go, long-cancelled Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Long time Half-Life scribe, the excellent Marc Laidlaw (who left Valve last year), casually tossed out a link to his website last night, which led to a short story about Gertie Fremont, Alex Vaunt and their climactic battle against evil alien invaders the Disparate. (The site’s having a wobble, but the page is archived right here).

While that might sound like satirical tomfoolery, the actual story very much sounds like how the final chapter of Half-Life 3 could have played out. It involves time-travelling cruise liners, resurrected overlords, the heart of the Combine and the fate of one Doctor Gordon Freeman.

This is really happening.
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Half-Life gets new patch, almost 19 years after launch

Though Half-Life [official site] is almost nineteen years old and its sanctioned fan remake Black Mesa is nearing completion, Valve have launched a wee patch for their pretty okay or whatever vintage FPS. The patch fixes a few crashes and exploits, and hit other Half-Life engine games too, such as classic Counter-Strike. Given how much of modern PC games history connects to Half-Life and its mod scene, I’m glad Valve are still tinkering a little. Earlier this year, they finally got Half-Life an uncensored release in Germany too. Read the rest of this entry »

Black Mesa is dreaming of a Xen Christmas

So committed is third-party Half-Life remake Black Mesa [official site] to emulation of its much vaunted inspiration that it has now fully embraced ValveTime. Black Mesa was first released as a free mod in 2012, followed by a spit’n’polished paid version two years ago, but still with the notorious jump’n’fail alien world section from Half Life’s final act missing. Plan was to rethink rather than merely remake Xen, in a planned act of historical revisionism to make people think Half-Life was brillo all the way through. (Note: Half-Life was brillo all the way through).

Last Autumn, the team declared the Gordon would finally be bouncing his away across fleshy coral oddities once away this summer. Well, no – there’s been a delay. The good news is, they are now showing off Xen’s great outdoors for the first time, as well as revealing a few changes planned for Black Mesa as a whole.

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19 years later, Half-Life is uncensored in Germany

That’s a long time to wait to find out what really happens when you shoot a Barnacle creature. Germany has long been notorious for the strict limitations it placed on videogame content, and the noble Half-Life was a particularly infamous victim of the censor’s stamp. Until now. That means no more robots instead of soldiers, no more barnacles spewing nuts and bolts instead of blood and gore, and no more sad looks from invulnerable scientists if you shoot at them.

Sudden realisation: censored versions of HL are going to become collector’s items now, aren’t they?
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The 50 Best FPS On PC

So often the bleeding edge of games tech, yet so often fundamentally the same underneath: there’s a reason we can’t get enough of pretend shooting pretend people in their pretend faces. It is a pure test of skill and reflex, a game about movement at least as much as it is about violence, and done right it is absolutely delightful. And hey, sometimes you get a decent gimmick or story thrown into the mix.

These are our favourite 50 first-person shooters on PC, from 1993-2017. Your favourite is at number 51.

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Dear Gordon… Black Mesa shows first peek at Xen

The Black Mesa [official site] gang have shared a first look at Xen in their Half-Life remake. You might remember that they launched Black Mesa without Half-Life’s oft-maligned final chapter, set in the alien world of Xen, because doing it right was taking yonks. You might further remember they’re planning to launch Xen in summer 2017. You might… well, I was surprised by this first peek at a Dear Esther-lookin’ cavern. Read the rest of this entry »

Black Mesa’s Xen Coming In Summer 2017

The makers of Black Mesa [official site] have announced plans to add the final section of their Half-Life remake, Xen, in summer 2017. They explain that it’s taking so long because they’re really fleshing out that alien world.

I do admire the confidence to declare you’re making Xen bigger, given how unpopular that section is with some players. They might be happier to hear you’ve decided Gordon Freeman’s muteness is because he’s really three dogs crammed into an HEV suit, so you’re replacing his pain sound effects with barks and yelps. But no, the Black Mesa gang are determined to make Xen proper good. Read the rest of this entry »

Novel Approach: Laidlaw’s Younger Self Talks Half-Life

Marc Laidlaw posted a fascinating blog entry from a younger version of Laidlaw about the development of Half-Life from the narrative perspective. By “a younger version” I mean that it comes from his own hand but via a file timestamped the day after Half-Life was shipped and is thus far closer to the game’s… ground zero? than the Laidlaw of now.

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Happy Birthday! Valve Turned 20 Yesterday

Happy 20th birthday, Valve! Yesterday. Happy 20th yesterday. Sorry, I only just saw the Facebook notification. On August 24th, 1996, ex-Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington made a beautiful baby who was mighty eye-opening.

In the dreamy game of “What if…?” one curious hypothetical is: what if Valve never existed? There can’t be many companies who’ve had nearly as much impact. Steam (eventually) revolutionised digital distribution, changing the entire landscape of PC gaming. Half-Life was seminal; its mod scene was legendary. That’d be plenty, but Valve have made a load of other really good video games too.

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Have You Played… Half-Life: Blue Shift?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Gearbox’s Barney-starring add-on is the black sheep of the Half-Life family, although at the time I never encountered any reason why that should be the case. My teenage tastes were perhaps less discerning then, but more importantly any return to Black Mesa was irresistible. I wanted new monsters and new guns, everything that a young’un wants from a follow-up to their favourite shooter, and I also had a vain hope that maybe I’d get to shoot that creepy suit-guy in the face and rescue Gordon.
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J.J. Abrams: Half-Life & Portal Movies “In Development”

Half-Life and Portal movies are “in development”, according to JJ Abrams. The director told IGN that “We’ve got writers, and we’re working on both those stories. But nothing that would be an exciting update.” Which means clearly Abrams isn’t familiar with Half-Life fans, who can see excitement in a cloud shaped like Gordon Freeman’s face.

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A Few Of My Favourite Monsters

We live in complex times. When I was a youngster, it was perfectly reasonable to buy a game simply because it had more monsters than the other games. Playing through shooters, RPGs and platformers alike, I’d be tempted to give up when I reached the point where no new enemy types were appearing. The very idea of a game with only one type of enemy, no matter how intelligent and believable, was poison. Give me all of your mutants, demons and aliens, I cried, give them to me now.

Here are a few of my favourites, ranging from the first-person shooters of my teenage years to the surreal horrors of my childhood.

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Sven Co-Op Now Free Standalone, Including Half-Life

Here’s a bit of nostalgia for you: Sven Co-op [official site] is now on Steam. The seventeen-year-old Half-Life mod is available as a free standalone game, and—thanks to a fair bit of generosity on Valve’s part—includes all of the Half-Life campaign maps. For free.

That means you can head to Steam, download the game, and start playing co-op Half-Life right now. Again, for free. No need for you or anyone you’re playing with to own Half-Life proper.

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Half-Life Writer Marc Laidlaw Has Left Valve

After 18 years at Valve, working on everything from Half-Life to Dota 2, writer Marc Laidlaw has confirmed that he’s retired from the company. That’s an eternity for the games industry! He wrote novels before getting into video games, and it sounds like he’s getting back to writing for himself.

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Have You Played… Science And Industry?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Science & Industry was a mod for Half-Life in which two team did battle for control of a limited pool of scientists. Capture one and bring them back to your base and you could put them to work on researching new technologies, which would both aid your team in the fight and earn you money which would ultimately decide the match’s victor.

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The Last Eight Years Of Gordon Freeman’s Unpublished Diaries – RPS Exclusive

An envelope arrived in the post this morning. Thick, stuffed with books. Diaries, in fact. Someone has sent me Gordon Freeman’s diaries from the last eight years. I don’t really know what to do about this. I mean, this is obviously big news, but this is also someone’s private life. But what if it was Gordon himself who sent them? What if he wants the… the misery therein to be exposed?

I’ve decided on a compromise. I’m going to publish some extracts, picked almost at random from the lot. If Freeman wants them taken down, he can get in touch and we’ll honour that right away.

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RPS Discusses: Do Expansion Packs Still Matter?

Expansion packs were once a core part of playing PC games, but they can often feel less essential in a world of constant updates and microtransactions. Original game Alec, expansions Adam and Graham, and brief DLC Alice gathered to discuss their favourite game expansions and why they still think the model works.

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